IEED – 2011 INNOVATION REPORT #2
Google plus and social sites overview
(# 3 follows and will review cloud computing which is closely linked.)
See # 1 for discussion of Google +
Collaborative and Social media overview, putting Google + into context.
Of course, as soon as we mention ‘social’ everybody immediately thinks of ‘Facebook’ and ‘Linked-in’, where the social element completely dominates and the users create all the content. But its much broader than that.
Let’s look back over the last two to three years and at the trends and track records of various companies. Forrester the well-known Internet consultancy company issued a report in November 2009 The Forrester Wave™: Collaboration Platforms, Q3 2009
One of the key things coming from this report was that all types of systems, from collaborative software, to customer relationship management (CRM), (with typically a written content) to web conferencing (with a typically spoken content) were starting to have a social element added to them, in order to facilitate their smooth operation. It has emerged that people collaborate better and become a more supportive team members if they know their colleagues, rather than simply having a name and e-mail address. However, since this report almost everything now with an Internet presence has a social element to it, picture galleries, video sites, corporate sites etc. But logging onto each and creating a new profile is becoming more and more time consuming. Whoever makes that simpler and quicker will be a winner, of traffic that is.
Here is my profile as an example
World-wide user numbers, track records and the business models.
Google search has a huge world wide market share see stats Google , and has an estimated
200m users of Gmail, but this may not count the steadily increasing numbers of schools, universities and companies opting for Google ‘apps’ ie email combined with full docs and spreadsheets. Google has an advertising business model,although no figures have ever been released for its income from apps or mobile, these must undoubtedly be increasing. If they are not and there is ever a glitch in G’s advertising growth, then some serious job losses could be expected. But its skills in serving interesting and relevant ads are not yet remotely approached by anyone. See Facebook advertising below.
Google has the reputation of being ‘no good’ at social.
Wave certainly died, they took it down, whilst Orkut, a Facebook look-alike remains active only in Brazil and a few other places places.
Buzz is still within our G mail boxes, but its not really going anywhere.
Picasa ( no user volume information available) was a Google acquisition and has seen steady improvements as a picture organiser and, as such, is one of the best out there, albeit free. As a picture editor it’s very basic, but its power lies in its simplicity and ease of sharing pictures in online galleries. The way Picasa integrates with G docs/blogger/circles/G profile is becoming very valuable.
Youtube, was a G acquisition in October 2006 and, by May 2011, was rated as the third most visited site on the Internet, (serving 1 billion videos per day). Not yet quite as integrated as Picasa but its already in G profile.
Facebook and Google search.
Facebook, c 500m + members/users – business model, mainly advertising. quote http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Facebook / revenues:
‘Microsoft is Facebook’s exclusive partner for serving banner advertising and therefore Facebook serves only advertisements that exist in Microsoft’s advertising inventory’.’
Ever notice how dumb or irrelevant Facebooks ads are? So now you know why!
This results in Facebook generally having a lower click through rate (CTR) for advertisements than most major websites and many times below Google.’
Linked-In, c 100m members/users – business model advertising plus add on services e.g. for corporate recruiting and account upgrades for individual users. A recent Initial Public Offering (IPO in USA) with very high valuation.
Yahoo has 250m plus email accounts and acquired Flickr in 2005 with possibly 500,000 users but this is our guesstimate and officially hosting 5 billion images.
MS with Windows Live, Hotmail has 350m plus accounts. Microsoft’s business model is the traditional one of selling software licences and, with such a very high market share, will struggle to maintain the same profitability as they proceed into online cloud services. So in terms of pure weight of numbers of users then Google is well down the list.
This battle taking place is not merely one of social software innovation per se, but is also about the business model. Google of course is predominantly ( 98% is oft quoted ) advertising and they are trying hard to monetise YouTube and Google apps ( meaning G docs and other services in the cloud) but as yet little or no information has been revealed.
So what does G + do and is it different than Wave or Buzz?
Where can you have the meaningful and or specialised subject discussions which don’t take place on Facebook?
G + plus is based on the pulling together of several different areas or networks which G have supported. It uses your G profile as the point where all can be seen ie similar to your wall on Facebook. And yes there is a G wall! This includes Picasa ( G’s acquisition of 2004) Gmail of course with its associated personal profile, and Google Groups which is or rather was a usenet IP and is now in transition Usenet date back to 1979 and has very large numbers of discussion groups. Many ISP’s are closing down their usenet groups for a variety of reasons and Google has become the guardian of the archives going back to 1980. Google Groups lost its content capability some months ago and its being shifted to G sites which then can have a group style discussion going on within it.
There are any more under all this, because of Google ‘s strength in capturing user data. Face recognition software within Picasa is now coming to the fore and doing for you what you would never in a million years have time to do – put faces to emails but not without permission as Facebook has done. Now I always link my uploaded to Picasa /PC pictures to Gmail in my inbox. After one recognition it pulls out all others automatically in one place. And now they are all visible within Picasa galleries. (wikipedia quote ‘On 15 August 2006, Google announced it had acquired Neven Vision, whose technology can be used to search for features within photos such as people or buildings.) Google applied this technology for face recognition, and this functionality was launched on Picasa Web Albums on 2 September 2008’
Oh yes and did I miss videos? All you have published are in your profile so this is now becoming the centre of your personal publishing operations ( whoops you are not into publishing? Well think again, everything you write good bad or indifferent can be seen from one location and shared if you choose to.
See here Don Tapscott’s ( of ‘Wikinomics’ fame) view of social networks and why he is rooting for google.
Google + already has 10 million users just 3 weeks after launch.
So what of privacy and confidentiality?
Eric Schmidt believes privacy is a relative thing, but that confidentiality’ is another issue.
Here is link to Schmidts, sometimes controversia,l privacy views
The concurrent launch of Google ‘Takeout ‘is perhaps very significant, allowing something which Facebook doesn’t allow and that is taking down all your information. Here is a link to the G team doing all this
When G launched ‘Wave’ (since pulled out of service although some of its code might now be used in what we are seeing on Google +), there was a scandal when it emerged that others could see some of your contacts. But in this case Wave was not an opt in, whereas G + appears to be, although it has ‘viral spreading’ mechanism. Expect news bubbles in this area and take care what you share could go to ‘extended circles’ if you inadvertently tick the wrong box. To quote Charles Leadbetter ‘We are what we share’ but be careful!
We have already had some discussion on our site around whether Google+ will take off for business. The debate continues – and Google is planning a launch later in the year : Find Out More about Google+ for Business
We will be putting this alongside the development of Cloud Computing in # 3